I can’t believe that our time here is almost over….as cliche or corny as it may be to say, this experience has truly been life altering and I never imagined I would learn as much as I have in such a short time…
I really have no idea how to process everything yet, or articulate the lessons I’ve learned, the people I have met, and this life and world that has become my own over this past month…I can’t even be articulte in my own journal.
This morning, the children came over to our porchand sat around with us while they ate their breakfast. The girls greeted me with big hugs, Edwin with a cool hand slap and a big grin, Seth with a cool and calm good morning and smirk, Mark with his usual stealth humor and wit, and Samuel with a loud “eh” and huge grin as he used my hair brush to fix his hair…I will miss these rituals so much.
Yesterday we walked up to the school with the boys and several other village children for after school activities and Sarah and I just laughed and soaked up their energy and let them be kids. I’m going to miss being around such vibrant and eager kids. They are so fun and free when you give them an outlet for it and just encourage them to be kids.
I was on the phone with my Mom and Mary, a 3 year old who lives un front of our house came over and just leaned on me and snuggled while I continued my phone conversation; the night before her older sister who had fallen and scraped up her knee sat on my lap for about 20 minutes, just because it was what she needed. I will miss being around kids who need so little to feel loved and important.
There is an energy and spirit in Ghana and Eguafo that I have never experienced before. Yes, it does get tiring explaining to people that I don’t have money and that I can’t just buy things for them, or telling random men that they are not my friends and that I cannot marry them or take them to the states…but those things are such little things really. For the most part here I have just been truly embraced by the people here and humbled by their strength, faith, community, lifestyle, and spirit…I cannot tell you how nice it is to actually talk to my neighbors and to have people ask me how I am doing and to return the question. The most frustrating thing I have found here (aside from the difference in child rearing and the role of children in a family\society) is that it feels as though people here think that everything in America is perfect and that we have all the answers…and further more, that the answers to all of Ghana’s problems and struggles are America’s answers…and I really don’t htink that this is true. Yes, I think that it is great that the elections here went as well as they did and I think that the Ghanaian people felt really empowered and proud about the democratic process that they all helped to carry out…but America does not have all the answers and Ghana needs their own dream, not just the “American” one. I was trying to explain to one of them men on the Sankofa board that there are people in America who live on the streets and don’t have money. He didn’t believe me and asked why do they live on the streets? I told him because they do not have jobs and can’t get help. He was shocked about this and didnot know that there are people in the states who live like that.
I guess what I mean to say is that I hope that the Ghanaian people see their own potential and realize their own dreams. There are people here with dreams and aspriations and ideas, and tons of children who want to go to school and learn…I don’t know what I’m trying to say I guess. Just that, Westerners coming in and trying to help or adapt our own systems is not the sole solution here…there’s more to it. I look at the kids in the center and they could do something for Eguafo, for Ghana…they just need to believe that they can and I hope we can help them see that.
I have just learned so much here about my own life and opportunities and mind set…I’ve been truly touched and inspired by my time here and the people I have met. I did not intend to have such an overly sentimental post, but I’m just very conflicted about our departure. On one side, I’m ready to go home and to fundraise state side, to have faster and more helpful internet to do research and yes, to go to the bathroom on a toliet seat and flush it…but I will so miss the simplicity of life here, of taking time to just experience things and notice the world around me, and to be around kids who just make m laugh and are always teaching me things and learning from me…
It is time to leave, but it will be hard to do so.
My Mom told me that I will be coming back to an America that feels very different, one that is hopeful and starting to pay attention to those that are in need. I hope that this mindset can help the children here…I want them to go to school everyday and learn and to have food everyday and to remember that they have people in their corner routing for them…I just wish I could stay here to remind them that in person.
See you all soon